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BEST 3D PRINTER GUIDE 2019

Choosing the right 3D printer for your business

Which 3D printer should I buy? Does it even make sense to buy a 3D printer? To answer these questions, we turned to our global network of manufacturing partners. In this guide, we identified the top 3D printers in terms of quality, reliability, ease-of-use, and overall value.


If you are serious about 3D printing, this guide is for you. Keep reading to find out which is the best tool to turn your next project into a 3D printing success story.


Are you not ready to commit to a 3D printer yet? Use our online 3D printing service to get your parts printed and shipped in 4 business days.


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Top 3D printers of 2019

No matter why you are interested in 3D printing, we got you covered. In this guide, we’ve made it easy for you to find the best 3D printer for four of the most common applications: professional, industrial, educational and home use.

In total 12 models made it on our Top 3D Printers list for 2019. Our picks might not be the best for your specific situation, but they will definitely guide you to make the best choice for your needs.

Follow the links to jump to the printer reviews. Keep scrolling to find out more about whether buying a 3D printer is the right choice for you and how to introduce 3D printing to your organisation.

Best Professional 3D Printers

Ultimaker S5

Ultimaker S5

A professional 3D printer for the engineer who needs to be able to get his parts without getting his hands dirty.

Read review

Formlabs Form 3

Formlabs Form 3

A powerful resin 3D printer for the designer who needs constant access to a digital production solution.

Read review

Markforged Mark Two

Markforged Mark Two

A composites 3D printer for functional high-strength components with a strength-to-weight ratio comparable to metals.

Read review


Best Industrial 3D Printers

HP Jet Fusion 3D 4200

HP Jet Fusion 3D 4200

A powerful production system that is fast rising in popularity, as seen on the latest 3D Hubs 3D Printing Trend Report.

Read review

EOS Formiga P110

EOS Formiga P110

A competitively priced industrial SLS systems for businesses entering the professional printing market.

Read review

BigRep Studio G2

BigRep Studio G2

An industrial-grade FFF / FDM 3D printer with a massive build volume ideal for use even in a non-industrial setting.

Read review


Best Educational 3D Printers

Ultimaker 3

Ultimaker 3

A versatile 3D printer ideal for the classroom or anyone really who wants to design, click-and-print with ease.

Read review

Dremel 3D45-Thumb

Dremel 3D45

A fully enclosed, workhorse 3D printer with carbon filters that will protect you from any potentially harmful substance.

Read review

Makerbot Replicator+

Makerbot Replicator Plus

A plug-and-play 3D printing system that is designed with educators in mind.

Read review


Best Home 3D Printers

Original Prusa i3 MK3S

Original Prusa i3 MK3S

An open-source 3D printer with excellent reviews for print quality, build quality, reliability, and price.

Read review

LulzBot Mini 2

LulzBot Mini 2

An entry-level, portable and reliable 3D printer that is ready-to-print out of the box.

Read review

Creality CR-10S

Creality CR-10S

The most popular Chinese 3D printer with a massive build volume and a low price tag.

Read review

What is 3D printing?

In this guide, we will talk about specific 3D printing technologies, such as FFF, FDM, SLA, SLS, and MJF. If you are not familiar with the basic terminology of 3D printing, we recommend you go through our Definitive Guide to 3D printing first before you continue reading this guide.

Should you buy a 3D printer?

Before you start thinking about what 3D printer to buy, first consider this. Online 3D printing services can give you easy access to a limitless 3D printing capacity. So, does it really make sense to purchase a 3D printer?

Here are some tips to help you decide whether your organization should purchase a 3D printer or outsource production to a 3D printing service:

Buy a 3D printer if... Use a 3D printing service if...
You will be using only a single or a few similar 3D printing materials. You need access to multiple 3D printing processes and materials, including industrial technologies.
You need to print around 10 and 30 parts per week regularly. Your 3D printing needs vary each week greatly, from a few prototypes to hundreds of end-use parts.
You are ready to invest the resources needed to set up, run, and maintain your 3D printer. You need parts that have been post-processed and finished using professional techniques.
It is crucial to have your parts 3D printed overnight every time You need to free up time from your engineers to focus on what matters most for your products.
You want to learn more about 3D printing by getting hands-on experience. You want to test and learn first before committing to a substantial investment.

It is not uncommon for small businesses to outsource their 3D printing needs to a 3D printing service. Even if the cost of equipment is within budget, the time required to operate and maintain a 3D printer can use precious engineering resources. Using a 3D printing service allows you to take advantage of the full benefits of 3D printing, while you focus on developing your product.

Also, by buying a 3D printer, you commit to a specific 3D printing technology and a limited set of materials. However, the 3D printing landscape is continuously evolving. What works best for your organization today might not meet your requirements tomorrow. So, using a 3D printing service allows you to stay lean and flexible, while always having access to the latest technologies.

To always have access to the latest technologies with minimal investment, use a 3D printing service. If you are planning to use the 3D printer to its full capacity and you are prepared to invest the necessary resources, buying a 3D printer is the way forward.

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How to select the right 3D printer

So you’ve decided to buy a 3D printer. With so many options, how to choose which one is best for you? Here are some tips to help you interpret the 3D printer reviews below.

Use-case
Materials
Resolution
Software

Use-case

The end application will determine the functional requirements that your 3D printed parts need to fulfill, which, in turn, will determine the best printer for your case.


Are you looking to create prototypes? Is a smooth surface or an excellent visual appearance a critical factor for your application? Are material properties and durability a more prominent requirement? Or maybe you are looking to create end-use functional parts to support the internal operations of your organization, such as jigs and fixtures.


All these choices should influence your decision-making in terms of 3D printer process and type. For a more detailed breakdown on how to select the right 3D printing process for your application, follow the link to our Knowledge Base article.

Materials

There is a close connection between every 3D printer and the materials it can use. When you choose a particular 3D printer, you are limited the material options that are available to this technology. For example, FFF/FDM printer produce parts from thermoplastics while SLA printers from thermoset resins.


Even within the same technology, every printer is compatible with a specific set of materials. For example, a lower-end FFF 3D printers can only print using prototyping materials, like PLA. Engineering grade materials, like nylon or composites, require higher processing temperatures and closer process control, so they can only be used with professional 3D printers.


The ability to print with multiple materials is also something that might be relevant. For example, many FFF/FDM 3D printers offer dual extrusion capabilities. This means that you can print in two different colors, or, more frequently, use the second extruder to print support structures that can dissolve in water. Printing dissolvable supports creates parts that have a better finish and saving you time during cleaning and post-processing.


Keep in mind that some 3D printers can only use materials provided by the manufacturer (typically at a premium price). Others are also compatible with 3rd party materials, giving you access to a broader selection.

Resolution

Resolution depends on two printer characteristics: the smallest feature size it can produce and its minimum layer height.


The minimum feature size depends on the 3D printer's setup. For example, the most common nozzle diameter of an FFF 3D printer is 0.4 mm, so they cannot produce details smaller than this limit. Laser-based 3D printers, like SLA and SLS machines, can produce parts with much greater detail, as the laser spot size of these machines is typically between 0.1 - 0.2 mm.


The second factor to consider is layer height. In theory, since 3D printers build parts layer-by-layer, the smaller the layer height the closer the end result is to the designed file. In practice, a smaller layer height does not always produce better results. The default layer height of 100 microns (about the thickness of a human hair) is best for most applications. Think of layer height as the megapixel count of a digital camera: although a higher resolution often helps, it doesn't guarantee good quality.


When you are printing large parts, using a larger nozzle and the layer height is often the best solution. In these cases, fine details are not as important, and increasing the layer height can cut the build time but half or more.

Software & connectivity

3D printing is a digital manufacturing process, so the software a machine uses is as important as its hardware. Each printer usually comes equipped with the software (called the slicer) that is used to prepare the CAD files.


The capabilities of these slicing software can vary greatly. For example, they typically include preset parameters that are optimized for each 3D printer and material. Automations like this simplify the workflows while using the printer.


Some 3D printing systems are also equipped with tools that make management, connectivity, and monitoring (for example, sensors, cameras, and WiFi integration). Such tools allow you to schedule print jobs from your desk, which comes in handy when you are managing more than one machines in a work or educational environment.

How to introduce 3D printing to your business

3D printing can bring many benefits to your organization. You've done your research and you know which printer is best for your situation. But how can you convince your team and superiors that this new technology is the way forward?

Here are some simple strategies you can follow to prepare a strong business case for adopting 3D printing in your organization. These are the same tried and tested steps that many other professionals have followed to grasp the benefits of 3D printing in their industry.

Introduce 3D printing to your business

Step 1: Become an internal 3D printing champion

A single employee usually initiated the adoption of 3D printing in every organization. These individuals who sparked change in their organizations are called the internal 3D printing champions. They are typically technically minded and are very enthusiastic about the potential impact of the technology in their industry.

To become the 3D printing champion of your organization start with education. Learn the basic vocabulary of 3D printing and the capabilities, strengths, and limitations of the current 3D printing systems. This knowledge will help you articulate the value added to your organization from using this technology.

To help you with this first step, we have prepared an extensive collection of articles that dive deeper into the specifics of each process. We also wrote the 3D Printing Handbook, compiling the knowledge we’ve accumulated during the years into an easy-to-use source of knowledge.

Another way to catch up with the latest developments in 3D printing is to subscribe to one of the many 3D printing media outlets and attending trade shows and events.

Step 2: Run a pilot project

The best way to convince someone is to show them the results. After learning the basics of 3D printing technologies, try to incorporate them into your next project.

To find suitable applications, think of any inefficiencies in your current workflow in terms of wasted resources or time. Can 3D printed be used to accelerate a step in your design process? Do you need a custom tool that will speed up your production that would be very expensive to manufacture using traditional technologies?

Don’t forget to collect data so that you can make a stronger business case to your manager. How much time did you save by using 3D printing? How much better was the end result?

As for actually 3D printing the parts, you can either use your personal or office 3D printer or turn to an online 3D printing service. We have already explained how using a 3D printing service gives you access to a broader range of 3D printing solutions. This design freedom can be very beneficial in this exploratory stage.

Step 3: Create a compelling business case

After proving that 3D printing can add value to your organization, the next step would be to scale up your activities in this area. There are three tried and tested avenues to success here.

Supporting internal operations: Without changing your product or supply chain, how can you use 3D printing to make your processes more successful? Rapid prototyping during the design phase or manufacturing of custom tooling, for example, custom jigs and fixtures, are two options that many businesses us to great success.

Product design evolution: How can you design and manufacture products that have superior performance using 3D printing? A solution is to create structures with a form that is optimized for the functional requirements of your application. These optimized structures are typically economically unfeasible to manufacture with traditional methods. For example, think of parts with internal channels for cooling or ways to combine an assembly into a single component.

Reconsidering supply chains: The ability to manufacture parts where you need them and when you need them is one of the key strengths of 3D printing. So, it is probably not a surprise that spare part production is becoming one of the mainstream applications. Consider this: is it possible to design for both traditional and additive technologies? This way, you can take advantage of the economies of scale of conventional manufacturing technologies, and eliminate the upfront costs of producing and storing the spare parts needed for aftermarket sales and repair.

Best 3D Printer Reviews 2019

Here are our reviews of the best 3D printers of 2019. They cover a broad range of price tags, features, and processes. What they all have in common is the abillity to produce high quality prints.

Best Professional 3D Printers

The machines in this category are for professionals looking for a 3D printer with an exceptional build quality that can produce high-quality parts, reliably, every time.


The 3D printers in this category are advanced desktop machines used for a variety of applications. They are best suited for professional designers and engineering businesses.

Ultimaker S5

Technology FDM / FFF
Starting at $6,000
Build Volume 330 × 240 × 300 mm
Overall dimensions 495 × 585 × 780 mm
Layer Height 20 - 600 μm
Available Materials PLA, ABS, Nylon, TPU...
Software Ultimaker Cura
Connectivity WiFi, Ethernet or USB

The Ultimaker S5 is a desktop FFF/FDM 3D printer designed for the engineer who needs to be able to get his parts without getting his hands dirty. Its high price tag puts in the expensive side of the spectrum, but it is definitely justified. This printer is suitable for anyone who is looking for a machine that is efficient and intuitive and can produce reliably functional prototypes.

If you are looking for an elegantly designed office 3D printer for your business that can produce functional prototypes out of the box, the Ultimaker S5 is a great option. Its large build volume of 330 x 240 x 300 mm is perfect for large-scale prototypes or batch production of smaller parts. Its multi-material capabilities allow you to create parts with soluble supports and a surface finish comparable to an industrial system. Its active leveling technology compensates for any surface deviations leading to faster turnaround times.

As for materials, the Ultimaker offers a large variety of pre-tuned options suitable for most 3D applications, from prototyping to manufacturing functional parts. The S5 is also compatible with 3rd party materials, but users have reported that the quality achieved using non-Ultimaker materials was lower.

The Ultimaker S5 is controlled using a touch screen or through your laptop or phone using the open-source Cura software. The printer is connected to the internet through both a wired and wireless Ethernet interface. This allows multiple users to queue up prints and be notified when they are done.

Extremely easy to use and setup
Exceptional print quality
Large build volume & multi-material capabilities
An expensive 3D printer
Relatively slow print time
Lower quality when using 3rd party materials

Formlabs Form 3

Technology SLA
Starting at $3,500
Build Volume 145 × 145 × 185 mm
Overall dimensions 405 × 375 × 530 mm
Layer Height 25 – 300 μm
Available Materials Standard Resin, ABS-like Resin, PP-like Resin, Clear Resin, High Temp Resin...
Software Formlabs PreForm
Connectivity WiFi, Ethernet or USB

The Formlabs Form 3 is a high productivity desktop SLA printer for the designer who needs constant access to a digital production solution. It is an evolution of the Form 2, a tried-and-tested professional resin 3D printer. Even though the two printers look very similar on paper, Form 3 offers advanced capabilities that translate directly to higher-quality parts and faster production.

Form 3 has a re-engineered flexible film tank that reduces the peel force during the separation stage when a layer is complete. These peel forces are the main suspect when it comes to print failures in SLA systems and results in parts with a smoother surface and crispier details. The new tear-away support structures make post-processing and cleaning of the parts faster, reducing the cost of labor significantly.

Formlabs offers a large selection of materials, from prototyping resins to resins that simulate the properties of engineering materials and resins designed for a specific industry application, such as dentistry. Keep in mind that the Form 3 is not compatible with 3rd party materials.

Form 3 is controlled with an onboard touch screen or through a laptop using the PreForm software. It is also fully connected to the internet using WiFi or Ethernet connection, allowing users to monitor and queue print jobs using the online management dashboard.

Easy to set up and monitor
Easy support removal
Large selection of resin materials
Expensive consumable
More challenging to maintain than a FDM/FFF system
Not compatible with 3rd party materials

Markforged Mark Two

Technology FDM / FFF / CFF
Starting at $13,500
Build Volume 320 × 132 × 154 mm
Overall dimensions 584 × 330 × 355 mm
Layer Height 100 - 200 μm
Available Materials Nylon, Carbon-filled nylon, Continuous carbon-fiber reinforced nylon...
Software Markforged Eiger
Connectivity WiFi, Ethernet or USB

Markforged Mark Two is a unique desktop 3D printer that can fabricate composite parts. Parts printed with the Mark Two can be reinforced with continuous carbon, kevlar or fiberglass fibers, achieving a strength-to-weight ratio comparable to metals. The Mark Two finds applications within manufacturing operations for the production of custom jigs and fixtures or the production of other functional high-strength components.

The Mark Two has the build quality that you would expect from a machine with this price tag. It is a heavy-duty piece of hardware designed for professional use in an industrial environment. It is equipped with a dual-extruder setup used to print with two different filaments. The base filament can be either nylon or carbon-filled nylon (i.e., nylon-reinforced with chopped carbon fibers) for extra stiffness. The composite filaments consist of a continuous fiber that is coated with nylon and is ironed over the layers of the print using a patented nozzle design.

For those who do not require the high performance of the continuous fibers, Markgorged also offers the Onyx One. This machine has the same build quality as the Mark Two and at a much lower price tag. However, Onyx One can only print using carbon-filled nylon, missing the unique benefit of this system.

The Mark Two comes equipped with the Markforged Eiger software. Eiger is a user-friendly, cloud-based solution that allows users to determine the orientation and position of the continuous fibers on a layer-by-layer fashion and schedule prints online.

High strength carbon-reinforced parts
High build quality and professional design
Unique composite 3D printing technology
Limited and expensive material selection
High machine price tag
Expensive and often required consumables

Best Industrial 3D Printers

Printers in this category are for businesses looking to use 3D printing to manufacture engineering-grade, end-use parts or for small-to-medium production runs.


These systems have been tried and tested by the Manufacturing Partners in our network. 3D printers in this category are best suited for manufacturing service providers or engineering businesses.

HP Jet Fusion 3D 4200

Technology MJF
Starting at ~ $175,000
Build Volume 380 × 284 × 380 mm
Overall dimensions 2210 x 1200 x 1448 mm
Layer Height 80 μm
Available Materials Nylon, Glass-filled Nylon
Software HP SmartStream 3D Build Manager
Connectivity Ethernet or USB

The HP Jet Fusion 3D 4200 is an industrial Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) 3D printing system. It builds parts by sintering together thin layers of powder material that have been jetted with a fusing and a detailing agent (ink). The Jet Fusion 3D 4200 is a powerful production system that is fast rising in popularity, as seen on the latest 3D Hubs 3D Printing Trend Report.

Together with the printer, HP also offers a processing station that allows manufacturers to minimize the downtime of the machine. The most useful feature of the system is the removable build units, which can be moved between the printer and the post-processing station. A second build unit can be loaded into the printer while the first one is cooling down, allowing users to produce more parts per day. The post-processing station also streamlines the preparation of the next build, by mixing the used powder with fresh, unused powder and

Parts printed in the Jet Fusion 3D 4200 have a stone gray color. They are also watertight to a certain pressure without post-processing, which is a unique feature when it comes to 3D printed parts. However, the material selection is somewhat limited at the moment, but HP is working with partners to develop new materials. Also, it is highly recommended to dye the parts black after printing, as this finishing option guarantees color uniformity and improves the surface texture of the parts.

In regards to the software, HP offers a build manager. Note though that the users of this system found the capabilities of the software are somewhat limited, so they often turn to 3rd party pre-processing solutions.

Streamlined production capabilities
Excellent part quality and strength
Easy-to-use post processing
Comes with limited software capabilities
Limited material selection
Dying needed to achieve color uniformity

EOS Formiga P110

Technology SLS
Starting at ~ $175,000
Build Volume 200 × 250 × 330 mm
Overall dimensions 1,320 × 1,067 × 2,204 mm
Layer Height 60 - 120 μm
Available Materials Nylon, TPU, composites...
Software EOSPRINT 2
Connectivity Ethernet or USB

The Formiga P 110 is a compact-class industrial Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) system produced by German manufacturer EOS. It uses a 30 watt, CO2 laser to fuse layers of powdered material into finished objects. The Formiga P 110 is designed for businesses entering the professional printing market with competitive pricing compared to other industrial SLS systems.

The P 110 allows for more cost-effective, low volume printing while keeping the quality standards top notch using the well-optimized EOS laser sintering process. P 110 has been developed to build small print runs and parts with complex‌ ‌internal geometry most common material used in this system is nylon (PA 12). EOS also offers multiple print settings to balance between the competing needs of high strength and high productivity. Other specialty materials are also available with various physical properties such as high-temperature resistance, tensile strength, or elasticity. The unsintered powder offered by EOS is recyclable to a certain degree: it can be mixed with new powder and used on subsequent print jobs.

Note that SLS parts are not watertight. Post-processing steps must be applied to fill in their internal porosity. However, this porosity also allows them to be dyed in a large variety of colors. Metal plating is another relatively common post-processing method that creates parts with a metallic appearance and higher strength.

The machine is controlled using the EOSPRINT 2 software, which allows preparing the CAD/CAM data for EOS systems. The company also offers a whole ecosystem of software solution to facilitate machine monitoring and IoT connectivity. Of course, the P 110 is also compatible with 3rd party software solutions.

Excellent part quality and strength
Wide certified material selection
Well-optimized process
Finish may be required for functional parts
Relatively long post-processing cycles

BigRep Studio G2

Technology FDM / FFF
Starting at ~ $60,000
Build Volume 500 x 1000 x 500 mm
Overall dimensions 1,715 x 1,170 x 1,765 mm
Layer Height 100 - 500 μm
Available Materials PLA, PETG, TPU, Nylon...
Software BigRep BLADE
Connectivity Ethernet, USB

The Studio G2 is an industrial-grade FFF / FDM 3D printer with a massive build volume, finding applications in prototyping, tooling, casting, and large end-use parts. It is produced by the German manufacturer BigRep who specializes in large format 3D printing. The Studio G2 is the smallest system they offer, but it's compact design and emphasis on ergonomics make it ideal for use even in a non-industrial setting.

The build quality of the Studio G2 is what you'd expect from an industrial system. It comes equipped with two powerful extruder heads. By default, the extruders use a 0.6 mm nozzles design for high-resolution printing. These can be easily replaced with 1 mm or 2 mm nozzles to build large parts faster if required. The printer also has a fully enclosed print area and a print bed that can reach 100°C. These two features allow users to print large objects with both prototyping plastic (such as PLA or PETG) and engineering materials (such as nylon).

Speaking of materials, BigRep supplies 3D printing filaments that come in large spools of up to 8 kilograms in weight, which is convenient considering the amount of material this printer uses. The Studio G2 is also compatible with 3rd party filaments for those who want to experiment.

The Studio G2 comes equipped with the BigRep BLADE slicer, offering preset for all compatible materials. The platform is also compatible with 3rd party software, such as Simplify 3D.

Massive build volume
Affordable price tag
Open materials and software
Currently lacking IoT connectivity
Relatively niche applications

Best Educational 3D Printers

To introduce young engineers and students to the world of 3D printing, you need printers that are reliable and easy-to-use. Ideally, they also offer a complete software package and can print for hours and hours with little to no maintenance.


In other words, you need a fleet of workhorse 3D printers. In this section, we reviewed the best printers that meet these needs. Plus, all machine manufacturers of the printers featured here offer supplementary material and services tailored for educators.

Ultimaker 3

Technology FDM / FFF
Starting at $ 3,500
Build Volume 197 × 215 × 200 mm
Overall dimensions 342 × 505 × 588 mm
Layer Height 20 - 600 μm
Available Materials PLA, ABS, Nylon, TPU, PETG...
Software Ultimaker Cura
Connectivity WiFi, USB

The Ultimaker 3 is a desktop FFF / FDM 3D printer that is ideal for the classroom or anyone really who wants to design, click-and-print with ease. It produces high-quality prints time after time, and it comes equipped with Cura, an award-winning software platform that guides users through every step of the process. Ultimaker also offers a massive library of resources specially tailored for teachers and educators.

From a hardware perspective, the Ultimaker 3 uses swappable print cores optimized for build or soluble support materials. Dual-extrusion and soluble supports unlock the ability to print geometries that are not possible on a single extrusion system. Combine this with the auto-bed leveling, the Ultimaker 3 is a very reliable printer capable of running print after print with little to no maintenance. When maintenance is required, the Ultimaker guides and customer support, not to mention the vast Ultimaker community gets users printing again as soon as possible.

Using Ultimakers' free Cura software users can slice models using optimized material profiles. You can also send files to print wirelessly over WiF, which is very convenient for a crowded school or university workshop. Users can even watch their print live from the Cura software using the built-in camera.

Ultimaker 3 can print with a large variety of materials, provided either from Ultimaker and also 3rd parties. The open materials platform gives you (and your students) the freedom to experiment with different types of materials, from prototyping plastics to higher-strength engineering plastics. On the other hand, its open enclosure gives access to the printer during operation, which means that it might not be best suited for younger audiences.

Excellent and reliable print quality
WiFi connectivity
Huge library with educational resources
Open enclosure
Relatively expensive 3D printer
Relatively slow print time

Dremel 3D45

Technology FDM / FFF
Starting at $ 1,800
Build Volume 255 × 155 × 170 mm
Overall dimensions 515 × 400 × 400 mm
Layer Height 50 - 300 μm
Available Materials PLA, ABS, Nylon, PETG
Software Cura Dremel Edition or online slicer
Connectivity Ethernet, WiFi, or USB

The Dremel 3D45 is a desktop FFF/FDM 3D printer that can be an excellent fit for an educational environment. It is the most economical option in this category and offers a fully enclosed enclosure with built-in carbon filters that ensure that no potentially harmful VOCs are emitted during printing. Dremel also offers an educational bundle that includes 30 standard-based lesson plans to kickstart your educational curriculum as well as excellent customer support and online documentation.

The 3D45 can print parts with great detail from a variety of materials. The machine offers a semi-automatic bed leveling system that will help you get the machine set up and running smoothly. Its removable print bed is very convenient for taking parts out of the printer. There is also an embedded camera that allows you to monitor your prints online and also to create time lapses, which is a nice option to have.

As for software, there are several options. The printer comes with a modified version of Cura that you can install in a computer, but this is not currently with the WiFi connectivity option. There is also an online slicer software which allows you to control and monitor multiple printers, which can come handy in an educational environment.

The main drawback of this system is its materials ecosystem. Even though the machine is capable of printing with multiple materials (including some of the more challenging engineering materials), it requires modification to use 3rd party materials. However, the community has identified workarounds to this plus the Dremel offers a broad range of materials, from PLA to Nylon, that covers most common applications.

Fully enclosed printer with active carbon filter
Excellent value for money
Educational bundle with lesson plans
Needs some manual setup
Restrictive material ecosystem
Restrictive software and firmware

Makerbot Replicator Plus

Technology FDM / FFF
Starting at $2,000
Build Volume 295 × 195 × 165 mm
Overall dimensions 530 × 440 × 410 mm
Layer Height 100 μm
Available Materials PLA
Software Makerbot Print Software
Connectivity Ethernet, WiFi, or USB

The Makerbot Replicator+ is a desktop FFF/FDM 3D printing system that is designed with educators in mind. In fact, Makerbot offers special educational packages that include lesson plans and certification programs for teachers and students.

The build quality of the Replicator+ has received mixed reviews. The printer has a stiff frame with linear guides and a flexible platform and produces parts with quality that varies from good to excellent. It also includes an onboard camera and an LCD that allow you to monitor and control the printers with ease. Makerbot claims that their hardware is tested for 380,000+ hours of use, which is impressive.

However, Replicator+ does not have a heated bed, and it is not compatible with 3rd party materials. This means that you are essentially limited in printing with Makerbot PLA only. Moreover, the Makerbot Print Software is easy to use and intuitive, but it does not offer great flexibility in terms of print settings and customization. But this might be a feature in an educational environment where you want to focus on design, and you are looking for a machine that just prints with the press of a few buttons.

Good quality prints
Intuitive software
Good educational support
Does not support for 3rd party filaments
Relatively expensive 3D printer
Limiting software

Best Home 3D Printers

This guide focuses mainly on professional applications of 3D printing. However, to become the 3D printing champion of your organization, you must first understand the capabilities of the technology. In this section, we reviewed a selection of the best entry-level 3D printers available on the market today.


These systems are inexpensive, easy to use, and set up and are ideal for anyone who wants to get his hands dirty with 3D printing. However, they do not offer the advanced features that more expensive, professional system.

Original Prusa i3 MK3S

Technology FDM / FFF
Starting at $750 - $1,000
Build Volume 250 × 210 × 210 mm
Overall dimensions 550 × 400 × 500 mm
Layer Height 50 - 400 μm
Available Materials PLA, ABS, PETG, ASA, Nylon, TPU...
Software Any open source software
Connectivity SD card

The Original Prusa i3 MK3S is a desktop FFF / FDM 3D printer that continues and improves upon the legacy of highly praised machines created by Prusa Research. It received almost unanimous excellent reviews by the community for its print and build quality, reliability, and of course its price. Starting at $750 in kit form and $1000 pre-assembled, it is a splendid value for money (and also the most economical printer of this guide).

Prusa Research continues to build upon their Original Prusa i3 design that is entirely open-source. The MK3S adds a bunch of useful features on top of the original design to keep the machine endlessly running. These include multiple firmware upgrades and integrated sensors that can detect, warn you and correct for the most common errors that can be encountered during printing. The biggest (and most unique) feature to this printer is its new print surface. The MK3S comes equipped with a flexible, powder-coated spring steel surface that makes the removal of part a breeze. All these upgrades result in better print quality and improved overall user experience.

The biggest user complains about the previous model of the Prusa i3 was the noise level of the machine during operation. In contrast, the MK3S is perceived as a very quiet 3D printer. In fact, it is the most silent open frame machine on the market.

The Prusa i3 MK2S is designed for makers and 3D printing enthusiasts in mind. It is missing many of the features that professional 3D printers offer, such as WiFi connectivity and dual extrusion capabilities. Also, it works superbly with prototyping plastics (like PLA or ABS), but you will have trouble using it with engineering materials (such as Nylon, PC or PP), which limits its applications.

Excellent build quality
Great value for money
Most silent desktop 3D printer
Only compatible with prototyping materials
No Wifi connectivity
Outdated controller design

LulzBot Mini 2

Technology FDM / FFF
Starting at $1,500
Build Volume 160 × 160 × 180 mm
Overall dimensions 457 × 339 × 607 mm
Layer Height 50 - 400 μm
Available Materials PLA, ABS, PETG, ASA, Nylon, TPU...
Software Cura LulzBot Edition
Connectivity SD card

The Lulzbot Mini 2 is a portable, entry-level, desktop FDM/FFF 3D printer that is ready-to-print out of the box. Priced at $1500 it is the most expensive printer in this category. However, it is ideal for people who are new to 3D printing or who just want to print. This machine requires almost no setup and will continue working non-stop with little maintenance.

The Mini 2 continues to build upon the strengths of the previous iteration of the machine. It uses the rigid steel frame and compact design that made the Lulzbot Mini and easily portable and reliable printer. The Mini 2 also solves some of the issues that users had with the previous model by getting some nice upgrades. The new extruder and the redesigned print bed help produce reliably high-quality prints. Also, the new controller allows for autonomous printing without the reliance on a tethered computer, resolving the number one complaint of users of the previous model.

Lulzbot has grown a large online community, thanks in part to their open-source approach. If the community can't solve your problem, then there is always LulzBot excellent customer support.

The Lulzbot Mini uses a modified version of the Cura software (an open-source software developed by Ultimaker) to prepare the files for printing. Like other entry-level machines, it does not offer WiFi connectivity, so you will need to use an SD card to transfer your data.

Ready to print out of the box
Rigid, transportable design
Good community and customer support
No Wifi connectivity
Relatively expensive
Limited build volume

Creality CR-10S

Technology FDM / FFF
Starting at $400
Build Volume 300 × 300 × 400 mm
Overall dimensions 490 × 600 × 615 mm
Layer Height 50 - 200 μm
Available Materials PLA, PETG, Nylon...
Software Any open source software
Connectivity SD card and USB

The Creality CR-10S is one of the most popular Chinese 3D printers on the market. With a massive build volume and a low cost, it creates quality prints making it an ideal entry-level machine. While the CR-10S is sold as a kit, there is minimal assembly required as most parts come pre-assembled. It can be put together in about 30 minutes, which is a considerably shorter assembly time than most other 3D printer kits.

With a full metal frame, large build volume and heated build-plate, the CR-10S provide printing capabilities of higher-end machines at a fraction of the cost. However, this comes at a price as it misses the user-friendly features that a more expensive machine offers by default. For example, you have to manually home the printer every time before you start a new job. The lack of quality-of-life features makes it unsuitable for a professional or educational environment and limits it to the realm of DIY makers and 3D printing enthusiasts.

While Creality is the designer of the CR-10S, the printer can only be purchased through 3rd party suppliers. This means that users will get very little in the way of customer support from Creality in comparison to printers that can be purchased directly from the manufacturer.

Given the printer's popularity (and lack of customer support), an active community has built up around the printer. Many users have shared their experience in setting up, troubleshooting, and upgrading the printer. This community has now become a selling point for the printer, with many beginners being able to access multiple resources on operating the printer. The CR-10S itself is made from standard components making replacing and upgrading parts straightforward.

Massive print volume
Easy assembly
Good value for money
Lacking user friendly features
Requires a lot of space
No customer support

About this guide

To write this guide, we first analyzed customer reviews from the most used on the 3D Hubs platformed. Then, we reached out to our Manufacturing Partners to learn more about their experience with using each machine. Finally, we asked our in-house 3D Hubs 3D printing experts to write a comprehensive review for each of the top 3D printers of the year.


This is the only online 3D printer guide is based on hard data:

2,000,000+ 3D printed parts
300,000+ customer reviews
10,000+ 3D printer reviews
10,000+ years of 3D printing experience

Editor: Alkaios Bournias Varotsis

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